New bipartisan negotiations over fiscal policy are underway, as a result of the deal that ended the government shutdown. But don’t expect these negotiations to produce a “grand bargain” in which Democrats and Republicans each make major concessions.
House Republican leaders on Thursday morning announced that they have a new proposal and it hews to the outlines media outlets reported overnight. Basically, House Republicans would leave the government shut down but give it about six weeks' worth of borrowing authority. Assuming I understand what the Republicans have in mind, the idea would be to use that time for some kind of broader negotiation on fiscal policy, entitlements, etc.—and, somewhere along the way, to start funding normal government operations again.
The big news this morning is a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Paul Ryan, in which he dangles a new offer to President Obama and the Democrats. According to Ryan, Republicans could agree to fund the government (thereby ending the shutdown) and increase Treasury’s borrowing limit (thereby avoiding default) as long as Obama and the Democrats agree to negotiations over fiscal policy.
House Speaker John Boehner went on ABC News “This Week” to make clear his position: Republicans won’t give the government new borrowing authority until Democrats agree to negotiate about Obamacare and fiscal priorities. When host George Stephanopoulos asked Boehner directly whether Republicans would let the government default if Obama won’t talk, Boehner said: “That's the path we're on. … I don't want the United States to default on its debt.
House Republican leaders are starting to look pretty desperate.